A moving, healing event
July 12, 2011
I wish to thank all those who created the Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival – “Literature of the Modern Middle East.” It was a remarkable healing event for what is aching in our world. Elizabeth Paepcke was a friend and donor for our original theatrical works and films. She believed in the power of art to inspire and she would have liked this festival. It reached with love and intelligence into wounds between countries and individuals.
I especially want to thank Shere Coleman and our team of volunteers for creating an exquisite decor. When I offered to help in May, she asked me to copy Islamic designs (thousands of years old) onto donated pottery made in our community. Not knowing why, I did as she asked. As I sat hour after hour carefully placing floral and animal patterns with acrylic paint on contemporary earthenware, I dropped into an ancient culture that revered beauty. It was a personal healing, mending hurt I had accumulated from the war-torn media.
After examining our pottery, the visiting Iranian writer Firoozeh Dumas commented, “The Divine is in the details.” It was most moving when the Afghan writer Khaled Hosseini sat on the stage here in Aspen and spoke of loving his wife.
Artistic director, Living Arts Foundation